The layers are here to stay (for at least two ovulation cycles.) The Delawares and Blue Andalusians may end-up staying for much longer because of the scarcity of the breed. Eventually, I think the idea is to get a rooster in there with them and do some repro work- but that's a long time off yet.
I just came back from the farm, and I was amazed at my weekly weight check. Our little Rhody Reds grew so quickly that I actually went back and rechecked their weights! The little pullets are so fast now that it's almost impossible to nab the one you want, and I am thinking of a way to use a piece of posterboard as a little corral to separate out individuals when I need them. All of the birds are eating out of very large hanging feeders now, and they all seem to be doing just fine with that. A Rhode Island Red that had been separated from the flock for a few days because of other birds being aggressive with her has been restored to the flock, apparently no worse for the wear.
When I weigh the birds, I have a "cluck bucket" that they sit in to discourage them from jumping off of the scale. I bought a very large container so that as they grew, they wouldn't be able to easily hop out. Well, I was wrong! I looked down to my notebook to record the weight of a Blue Andalusian, only to find her perched on the rim of the bucket, looking eye to eye at me! Here they are, eighteen days old, and already able to jump up to the rim! Next week I'll put a mesh lid on top. Also, it is very encouraging to see them beginning to perch on my finger when I'm holding them. I know it's just instinctual, but I think I'll anthropomorphize them and pretend it's because they like me.
Edited by peckhamchick - 3/13/07 at 10:19am